TEACHING FOR DIVERSITY AND EQUITY IN STEM: IN PRACTICE

Reva Ramiah, Lisa Godinho, Joanne Castelli, Angela Ziebell, Stephen George-Williams

Abstract


Diverse teams more effectively solve problems (Reynolds & Lewis, 2017), and are therefore critical for STEM research and innovation. Yet, tertiary STEM cohorts still do not represent our diverse Australian society (Fisher, Thompson & Brookes, 2020). Despite targeted efforts providing access for a broader demographic (Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, 2015; TEQSA), there remains significant participation gaps for students from traditionally marginalised cohorts (students with a disability, gender diverse, or culturally and linguistically diverse students) (Lowrie, Downes & Leonard, 2017). Providing greater access will not rectify this imbalance if the learning experiences universities offer exclude or limit the success of these students.

The global pandemic has disrupted higher education; with significant impact on student wellbeing and the potential to exacerbate inequities (Dodd et al., 2021). However, as STEM educators this disruption can be an opportunity to reform our STEM curricula, not just for new delivery modes, but for diverse student cohorts.

Catering for diversity is not a new concept in tertiary education. It has been core to transition pedagogy, which ask that “academics…leverage the curriculum and its delivery…to make equitably explicit the implicit rules and expectations of disciplinary engagement and success.” (Kift, 2015). The educational research is arguably done, but as academics, do we have the capacity to implement equitable and inclusive STEM education?

This workshop will make the implicit explicit as together we discuss, deconstruct, and reconstruct ‘standard’ tertiary STEM classes to give participants practical experience applying the principles of inclusive teaching through curriculum design.

REFERENCES
Dodd, R. H., Dadaczynski, K., Okan, O., McCaffery, K. J., & Pickles, K. (2021). Psychological wellbeing and academic experience of University students in Australia during COVID-19. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(3), 866.
Fisher, C. R., Thompson, C. D., & Brookes, R. H. (2020). Gender differences in the Australian undergraduate STEM student experience: a systematic review. Higher Education Research & Development, 39(6), 1155-1168
Kift S. (2015). A decade of transition pedagogy: a quantum leap in conceptualising the first year experience. HERDSA Review of Higher Education, 2, 51-86
Lowrie, T., Downes, N., & Leonard, S. (2017). STEM Education for all young Australians. A Bright spots stem learning hub foundation paper for SVA, in partnership with Samsung. University of Canberra STEM Education Research Centre.
Reynolds, A. & Lewis D. (2017, March 30). Teams solve problems faster when they’re more cognitively diverse - Harvard Business Review. Retrieved June 4, 2021, from https://hbr.org/2017/03/teams-solve-problems-faster-when-theyre-more-cognitively-diverse
Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency. (2015). Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards).

Keywords


diversity, equity, inclusive pedagogies, STEM, curriculum design

Full Text:

PDF